Solidarity delegation to Palestine
In September 2000, the second Intifada, a new uprising of the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation, broke out. Its immediate cause had been a provocation by today´s Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. However, it was the Palestinian´s people anger over the undelivered promises of the Oslo peace treaty that exploded in this uprising.
Since then, the situation in Palestine has been aggravating. Thousands have been killed, tens of thousands injured. Daily life means permanent curfews, closures and state of emergency, destruction of houses, schools and hospitals, land and plantations. On the other hand, the Palestinians´ ongoing resistance increasingly puts pressure on the Israeli government.
In Europe, however, public opinion has been steadily shifting from solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle towards its condemnation. The European governments pay lip-service to Israel demanding limitations to their military operations whilst being heavily involved in mutually beneficial arms trade. Since the US-regime has declared its international "war on terror" following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the legitimate Palestinian resistance struggle is being increasingly considered as unmotivated bloodthirsty terror on both the media and the political level. It is, however, Bush´s war and Sharon´s military offensive, the occupation in Palestine and in Iraq, that means terror against the populations of the Middle East. The Palestinians´ and Iraqis´ asymmetric struggle against a powerful enemy, just as the fact that despite the overwhelming asymmetry of forces resistance could not be defeated, do convey hope and confidence not only to the Palestinians, but to all oppressed peoples under this world order.
The death of Yasser Arafat, historic leader of the Palestinian liberation movement and president of the Palestinian National Authority, leaves a vacuum of power. It is not unlikely that the Israeli regime could take advantage of this situation of uncertainty to launch a military offensive against the Palestinian resistance in order to not only deprive it of its best people, but to make a step forward to its complete and physical destruction.
The Palestinian people have to face with a permanent military aggression as well as with a political offensive against their liberation struggle. For this reason, the Palestinian people desperately need our support. It is imperative, given the situation of permanent war and in particular of a possible military offensive after Arafat´s death, to clearly express our political solidarity with the Palestinian resistance struggle. We call upon the anti-imperialist and democratic movement to defend the Palestinian people, their physical survival and political resistance struggle.
Against this background and with these objectives, an international solidarity delegation will be travelling to Palestine. The first part of the programme will include meetings and discussions with representatives of political, cultural and social resistance organisations both in the occupied territories and within the Green Line. Moreover, the delegation will meet with anti-zionist Israelis who suffer from political repression in Israel. The second part of the programme will consist of voluntary work in social institutions to express the delegation´s solidarity with the population. This will help participants to get to know and understand the harsh conditions of daily life under military occupation. It shall, moreover, contribute to the alleviation of Palestinian hardship.
Austrian Arab Cultural Centre